US` suit over discrimination against Indians

The US Justice Dept has filed lawsuit against owner and mgmt of apartment complex in Renton.

Washington: The US Justice Department has
filed a lawsuit against the owner and management of an
apartment complex at Renton in Washington State for racial
discrimination against Indians who were treated less
favourably than other tenants and even told to "go back" to

The lawsuit seeking monetary damages and an order barring
further discrimination was filed yesterday in the US District
Court for the Western District of Washington and named as
defendants Summerhill Place LLC -- the owner of Summerhill
Place Apartments; GRAN Inc. -- the management company; and
Rita Lovejoy -- the former on site manager.

The suit alleges, among other things, that the defendants
steered Indian tenants away from one of the five buildings at
Summerhill, treated tenants from India less favourably than
other tenants and discouraged African-Americans, Hispanics and
families with children from living at Summerhill.

The names of Indians have not been revealed.

"Equal access to housing in the United States is a
fundamental right, and this nation will not tolerate
discrimination in housing," said Assistant Attorney General
for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E Perez.

The Justice Department alleged that the owner and
management of apartment complex instructed its staff not to
show new or renovated apartments to people from India,
Hispanics and African Americans.

The company and its staff engaged in discriminating
against Indian tenants by not replacing their carpets or their
broken appliances, while providing such services to other
similarly situated tenants, the law suit alleges.

It also alleges that one or more Indian tenants were told
that their children cannot play outside and that they should
take them to park to play. They were also allegedly told to
"go back to India" if they could not learn how to work their
appliances and faced other derogatory comments about their
national origin.

"Few things are more fundamental to success and happiness
than having a safe place to live. Fair and equal access to
housing is a cornerstone of our society," said US Attorney for
the Western District of Washington Jenny A Durkan.

"Apartment owners must ensure that their managers treat
all tenants and potential tenants, in a fair and equitable
manner without regard to race, national origin or whether they
have children. The US Attorney`s Office will actively pursue
these cases with the goal of fairness and equity for all,"
Durkan said.


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